Abortion Issues: the 'Gag Rule' and the Role of Men

Regarding the article "New Federal Rule Stymies Clinics," April 16: Congress created the Title X program under the Public Health Act to provide family planning defined by preventing or promoting pregnancy, not by promoting pregnancy termination.

This federal program has always prohibited the use of Title X funds "in programs where abortion is a method of family planning" (Section 1008).

The family-planning clinics interviewed by the author grieve that counseling a woman on all her options will no longer be allowed under the regulations, when in reality these clinics were acting outside of congressional intent by advocating abortion as just another form of family planning.

The Supreme Court-approved Title X regulations simply implement the program's statutory distinction between birth control and abortion. Mark D. Epley, Arlington, Va.

Regarding the Opinion page article "Pregnancy, Abortion, and 'Real Men'," April 16: I am pleased to see that the issue of male/female partnership in conception and abortion and, in particular, men's rights in this regard, is finally getting some attention.

I am disappointed, however, that the author's concluding judgments fell short of a position of true equality between the sexes.

The author's support of the essence of Roe v. Wade - that the child-bearing decision is exclusively the woman's - maintains the prevalent sexist (in other words, anti-male) dogma.

As long as society grants exclusive control over childbearing decisions to women and yet demands that men shoulder the lion's share of the responsibility for those decisions, the issue will remain a divisive one that undermines social harmony, the stability of intimate relationships, and respect for the courts. Robert Hurwitz, Greenfield, Mass. Film violence and free expression

Regarding the article "Researcher Links Violence on TV With Aggression," April 7: While I share many of the concerns of Leonard Eron, psychologist, regarding violence in the movies, I totally disagree with his assessment of the film "The Silence of the Lambs," as well as his judgment that giving an Oscar to the movie sends a message to children condoning the violence of some of the characters.

Children belong nowhere near "Silence," but that is the responsibility of parents and theater owners, not filmmakers. But to suggest, as Mr. Eron implies and others have stated, that the film can be seen as a glorification of serial murderers is ridiculous.

Critics of movie violence need to be more careful to distinguish between the gratuitous violence of some movies and other films that explore grim but important issues in a morally serious fashion.

Filmmakers need the freedom to explore those issues even though many will exploit them.

Since film violence is not likely to go away, we had best find ways to constructively evaluate it, while doing what we can to make the real world less violent. Marc Belanger, Greenfield, Mass.

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